By Thabisile Masimula
SOUTH AFRICAN TENNIS MAESTRO CHANI SCHEEPERS has blissfully reached a career-high ranking after a well deserved win and concrete performance at the season’s opening Grand Slam on Monday, January 31.
This after having lost out in the qualifying round held in Sydney and Brisbane last year, the talented Scheepers managed to reach the third round of the Australian Open in Melbourne in January this year. The 26 year old eventually fell in straight sets to world No 9 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Her victory has seen her climbing up the ladder of the world rankings to moving 27 places up the WTA world singles rankings to a career high 80th position.
“I can definitely take a lot of confidence out of my performance at the Australian Open as I worked really hard this off season, trying to add new things to my game. I also felt I really trusted myself in taking chances and facing different challenges and luckily it all paid off”, said Scheepers.
Her best performance last year was when she reached the fourth round of the French Open at a Grand Slam.
At this point of her life, her dreams seemed to be fading away as she was knocked out in straight sets by Olympic gold medallist Elena Dementieva of Russia. It was this performance which gave her a signal that with enough hard work she could reach new heights.
“I changed coaches in the middle of last yearbut now I have a constant coach, Roger Anderson and he keeps me working really hard to improve my forehand, which is my weapon now.
Some of the changes she made included a new racket (she has a new sponsor) and a more aggressive game.
The celebrated Scheepers is the only South African woman ranked among the top 350 in the world in the singles format category and her biggest dream this year is to climb even higher up the WTA list before the end of the season.